What makes a good community manager?

May 8th, 2009

Community manager at work One point from the Q&A roundup from Marketing Now bears deeper exploration: Online communities require investment in people.

Technology is necessary, and beneficial. But it’s only the beginning.

Nothing will happen if you set up an online community platform and expect a community to form and manage itself.

In 2008 the Tribalization of Business survey found that this was the case – businesses were spending up to a million dollars on community platforms that were then becoming ghost towns.

It’s not because the concept isn’t valid; it’s that the job has been half done.

Communities, movements, any collection of people for a purpose, happens because someone makes an effort.

So what skills are required? In our years of observing and participating in this space, we believe a good community manager is like a:

  • Magazine editor , who pulls together information from various sources and makes it easy-to-consume.
  • Orchestra conductor , who brings the best out of a group of diverse people.
  • Counsellor , who listens to people and helps them solve their own problems.
  • Improv actor , who uses the situation at hand to create a completely new experience with his audience.
  • Parent , making sure that no child is left behind, and that everyone treats each other well.
  • Exploration leader, taking the community down new and exciting paths.
  • Publican , whose job is to provide a convivial environment for conversation and entertainment, with the minimum of distraction.

Any I’ve missed?

(Thanks to Chris for publishing his photos under a Creative Commons licence!)

Too much information? Sign up for our fortnightly email newsletters and reduce the clutter.

David Meerman Scott and Chris Brogan in New Zealand, day one

April 18th, 2009

Marketing Now Conference
Some connection troubles prevented me from posting this update until today. Enjoy! This is from Wednesday 15 April.

What are the new rules of marketing and PR? What does lead generation look like in a social media world?

Those were some of the questions covered today with two of the world’s top social media teachers, speakers and doers.

David Meerman Scott’s New Rules

David Meerman Scott kicked off the day with the new rules of marketing and PR. One of those rules is to give things away, and David backs his theory up with solid practice: download his free ebook here .

After a morning break he got onto his latest book, World Wide Rave , a study of why things ‘go viral’.

Towards the end of his session, David shared his own experience of what hasn’t worked – as well as what has – in promoting World Wide Rave. Not an easy thing for any marketer to do, but a really heartening thing for any other marketer to see – that any experimentation will have its share of mistakes.

That’s why you need to think like a venture capitalist or film producer. It’s not about the success of a single campaign, it’s about launching a portfolio of efforts, and measuring the success of each one.

Chris Brogan’s Lead Gen 2.0

Chris Brogan took the stage in the afternoon, and beguiled us all with stories about people he knew, experiences he’d had and … us! I wondered why he’d been taking photos all morning instead of listening to David. He’d been gathering material for his presentation-on-the-fly, a brilliant way of keeping our attention and helping us see things differently, by seeing ourselves!

I’m not going to try and summarise everything David and Chris said – that’s what live tweets are for . But I will note what stood out to me:

  • The more you release control, the more you stand to gain. For example, the old way to generate leads is to give something in exchange for an email address. But that limits the number of people who will make that effort, and it reduces your ability to spread your message. Give it away, don’t just half-heartedly give it away.
  • You are as valuable as your content. That’s a direct quote from David, and it was a chilling reminder for me to get back into blogging! Particularly since I was nodding in recognition of many things they were saying, and yet realising, I haven’t expressed this information! So I apologise, iJump readers. It’ll never happen again!
  • Marketers love rules. At iJump one of our sayings is, there are no rules, only relationships. I strongly believe this but I marvel at the outstanding success of David’s book (which we all got a free copy of, by the way!). It shows me that marketers hunger for boundaries, for the rules of the game, and it means there’s a lot of opportunity (and responsibility) for those who seek to delineate this new world. David has done an admirable job, giving clear guidelines while avoiding strict black-and-white rules.
  • Marketers are impatient. And rightly so. It’s your hunger for action that has got you where you are. The culture of social media, on the other hand, is discovered over time, like finding your way around a new neighbourhood. You could get a Lonely Planet guide, or you could take a gift to your new neighbours and get to know them up close.
  • Marketers find Twitter hard to understand. This isn’t from Chris or David, it’s from my continued observations. As a rule (remember, though, there are none!) people who communicate well in person struggle with twitter, while more introverted people like me take to the medium naturally. Of course, just as I have learnt to turn my personality up for face-to-face meetings (and I love presenting to a crowd), an extrovert can learn to navigate the body-language-free world of Twitter (and social media) with a willingness to explore, and some friends to help them.

That’s all from day one. More soon!

Too much information? Sign up for our fortnightly email newsletters and reduce the clutter.

Jump In! #4: BarCamp Auckland

December 20th, 2007
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5701334985198945745

Simon Young talks with Ludwig Wendlich,16-year-old web developer and organiser of BarCamp Auckland, an UnConference for web people. Find out about the future of conferences, and what it means to you as a communicator.

Get the lowdown on everything that happened at BarCamp here.

Can’t see the video? Try it at YouTube, MySpace, MetaCafe, Google Video, DailyMotion, Blip.tv, Veoh, Viddler, Kyte or Vimeo. If none of those work, something is wrong with your computer.

Get the latest Jump In for free in iTunes or on the web.

Too much information? Sign up for our fortnightly email newsletters and reduce the clutter.

Web 2.0 doesn’t have to be sexy

November 5th, 2007

Judging by the comments on Jon Beattie’s presentation on web 2.0, there’s still a sizeable gap between those in the know and the rest of the world.

One of my theories is that people still put blogging, podcasting etc in the “technology” part of their mind (which for some is a scary place). It should be in the “people” part (which is also scary, but part of our jobs).

Maybe I can do my bit today by debunking one thought – that web 2.0 has to be uber-cool and aimed at a youth audience. Two recent blogs show that to be wrong.

Can you think of anything less exciting than insurance and home buying? (Okay, getting a home is pretty cool, and I suppose getting an insurance payout is exciting – but paperwork is not fun at all!)

New Zealand companies are harnessing blogs, not to do anything especially new, but to get closer to their customers in a way they couldn’t before.

It’s not about whiz-bang technology – it’s about predictability and things working properly. It’s not about the coolest new thing – it’s about the most relevant. It’s not about who can get the most traffic to their blog – it’s about who can make the best connection with the people who do come.

This is a conversation-starter. Want to join the conversation? What do you think a blog is for?

Too much information? Sign up for our fortnightly email newsletters and reduce the clutter.